USGS Evidence Shows Power of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

New Evidence Shows Power of East Coast Earthquakes
Virginia Earthquake Triggered Landslides at Great Distances
Released: 11/6/2012 8:30:00 AM USGS.govEarthquake shaking in the eastern United States can travel much farther and cause damage over larger areas than previously thought.U.S. Geological Survey scientists found that last year’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia triggered landslides at distances four times farther—and over an area 20 times larger—than previous research has shown.“We used landslides as an example and direct physical evidence to see how far-reaching shaking from east coast earthquakes could be,” said Randall Jibson, USGS scientist and lead author of this study. “Not every earthquake will trigger landslides, but we can use landslide distributions to estimate characteristics of earthquake energy and how far regional ground shaking could occur.”“Scientists are confirming with empirical data what more than 50 million people in the eastern U.S. experienced firsthand: this was one powerful earthquake,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Calibrating the distance over which landslides occur may also help us reach back into the geologic record to look for evidence of past history of major earthquakes from the Virginia seismic zone.”This study will help inform earthquake hazard and risk assessments as well as emergency preparedness, whether for landslides or other earthquake effects.This study also supports existing research showing that although earthquakes  are less frequent in the East, their damaging effects can extend over a much larger area as compared to the western United States.The research is being presented today at the Geological Society of America conference, and will be published in the December 2012 issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.The USGS found that the farthest landslide from the 2011 Virginia earthquake was 245 km (150 miles) from the epicenter. This is by far the greatest landslide distance recorded from any other earthquake of similar magnitude. Previous studies of worldwide earthquakes indicated that landslides occurred no farther than 60 km (36 miles) from the epicenter of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake.“What makes this new study so unique is that it provides direct observational evidence from the largest earthquake to occur in more than 100 years in the eastern U.S,” said Jibson. “Now that we know more about the power of East Coast earthquakes, equations that predict ground shaking might need to be revised.”It is estimated that approximately one-third of the U.S. population could have felt last year’s earthquake in Virginia, more than any earthquake in U.S. history. About 148,000 people reported their ground-shaking experiences caused by the earthquake on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” website. Shaking reports came from southeastern Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas.In addition to the great landslide distances recorded, the landslides from the 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred in an area 20 times larger than expected from studies of worldwide earthquakes. Scientists plotted the landslide locations that were farthest out and then calculated the area enclosed by those landslides. The observed landslides from last year’s Virginia earthquake enclose an area of about 33,400 km2, while previous studies indicated an expected area of about 1,500 km2from an earthquake of similar magnitude.“The landslide distances from last year’s Virginia earthquake are remarkable compared to historical landslides across the world and represent the largest distance limit ever recorded,” said Edwin Harp, USGS scientist and co-author of this study. “There are limitations to our research, but the bottom line is that we now have a better understanding of the power of East Coast earthquakes and potential damage scenarios.”The difference between seismic shaking in the East versus the West is due in part to the geologic structure and rock properties that allow seismic waves to travel farther without weakening.Learn more about the 2011 central Virginia earthquake.

The US-Pakistan misalliance is doomed: Daniel 8

Is the US-Pakistan misalliance doomed?

No-Win War: The Paradox of US-Pakistan Relations in Afghanistan’s Shadow

By Zahid Hussain, Oxford University Press, Pakistan 2021, 355 pages

The United States and Pakistan became the oddest of odd couples on the global stage in the period after the Second World War, caught in a tragic embrace that failed to deliver on their mutual promises. Each country’s leaders heard what the other’s leaders said but they did not listen. What was said did not match what was meant or left unsaid. Both sides also had trouble remembering or understanding their history, leaving both in a maze of confusion and disappointment.

This new book by Pakistan’s eminent chronicler Zahid Hussain opens with the scene of “best buddies” George W Bush and Pervez Musharraf standing together in the celebrated Hotel Waldorf Astoria on November 10, 2001. Musharraf, hitherto an ostracised dictator, was basking in the newly found glory of having been readmitted by Bush into the club of America’s friends. “Pakistan will hope for a very sustainable and longstanding, futuristic relationship developing between Pakistan and the United States, a relationship which we always have had in the past”, proclaimed Musharraf. He was wrong, both in his understanding of the past rollercoaster relationship between these unequal “friends” and his hope for the future.

Hussain captures the many twists and turns of the journey of Bush and Musharraf and their successors, through his detailed reporting and deft explanations of how each side’s wishful thinking clouded its judgement about the other’s ability to meet their common goals: the eradication of terror and militancy from Afghanistan and the region and thus the prevention of another attack on the American mainland by Al Qaeda or any other group from that neighbourhood.

America lumped Afghanistan and Pakistan together, but in the wrong order, with the much larger, nuclear-armed Pakistan becoming the coda to Afghanistan in the poorly named Af-Pak theatre. Moreover, as Hussain explains, the United States did not have a clearly defined endgame for Afghanistan nor an exit plan that would allow its allies and partners like Pakistan, who were pressed into service, to make their own decisions with confidence. The war lurched on and on as some 19 field commanders from NATO and America came and went through the revolving doors in Kabul, on average every 13 months. Tactics became strategy. No one knew how the story would end.

Hussain clearly had good access to Kayani and builds the story of Kayani’s US relationship as it crumbled under the suspicions of the Americans and Kayani’s own impatience with the inability of the Americans to seal the eastern border of Afghanistan with Pakistan

The result, as detailed in Hussain’s incisive reporting and interviews with key players, especially in the Pakistani military, was a growing distrust of each other that was masked by false smiles and carefully wrought language that was just enough to keep US aid flowing to Pakistan. Meanwhile, Pakistan returned the favour by doing just enough to indicate that its military was fighting terrorism in America’s war.

For those who wish to get a guided tour of the past two decades of this unequal partnership between a super power and its client state, this book offers a clear and well documented journey through the labyrinth of events beginning with the botched effort to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden at Tora Bora, his escape to Pakistan and eventual hideout in Abbottabad. It then explains how Musharraf lost favour after failing to deliver on his promises and the ill-fated Benazir Bhutto was anointed as his potential successor. America, under a new and popular president, Barack Obama, who had promised to end this “necessary war” and the unnecessary one in Iraq, ratcheted up the drone attacks on Pakistani soil. What the Pakistani people did not know, because they were misled by their government and military, was the fact that the drone campaign was in collaboration with the Pakistani leadership and often the drones were being launched from inside Pakistan. Governments of both President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif participated in this charade. The people of Pakistan remained and continue to remain in the dark.

The United States paid lip service to its consultations with the civilian governments while relying heavily on its military partners in Rawalpindi, and especially the Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Hussain clearly had good access to Kayani and builds the story of Kayani’s US relationship as it crumbled under the suspicions of the Americans and Kayani’s own impatience with the inability of the Americans to seal the eastern border of Afghanistan with Pakistan. This allowed Pakistani insurgents to use the Afghan borderlands as sanctuaries, much the way the Afghan Taliban used Pakistani territory to rest and recuperate and to park their families. All with a wink and a nod from the Pakistani military.

The raid on Abbottabad to kill Bin Laden effectively sealed the fate of this pretend relationship. It exposed US distrust of Pakistan as well as the gradual build-up of US intelligence activity inside Pakistan, culminating in a series of events in 2011 that broke the alliance. The US-led NATO attack on Pakistani soldiers at the border post of Salala on 26 November 2011 that killed 26 and wounded 12 was the culmination of the aggressive US posture in 2011. The relationship with Pakistan began crumbling rapidly as the US dithered in issuing an unequivocal apology. Pakistan shut down the ground routes into Afghanistan. The US shut off aid flows and the reimbursements under the Coalition Support Funds (CSF). This pattern continued through the tumultuous period of Obama’s successor, the irascible and easily irritated Donald J Trump who cut off most aid to Pakistan. Hussain’s narrative helps us understand the manner in which Pakistan failed to fight the terror networks inside its borders and how America penetrated Pakistan’s institutions to find complaint and buyable civilians and military officers who opened doors and helped cover up the misdeeds of others. A fuller examination of the Abbottabad Commission and the subsequent trials of senior military officers reportedly for espionage would have added much needed details and enhanced public understanding. Pakistan continues to place a cloak of secrecy on all such matters, leaving it vulnerable to repeating its mistakes in the future.

‘No-Win War’ is a sad but true story of how America and Pakistan lost their way to finding trust and stability in the region. Hussain does a huge service to his compatriots by succinctly presenting the facts and hidden details of much that happened since 2001 inside Pakistan and with Afghanistan. In a country that relies on the oral tradition to pass information and analysis, Zahid Hussain has made a necessary and important contribution to help us understand Pakistan. It is time others, in the civil and the military, who were involved in decision-making during these past turbulent two decades came out with their versions of what happened and why. That would be a good way for Pakistan to confront its past and prepare for its future.

The writer is a Distinguished Fellow at the South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council in Washington DC and was the Center’s founding director in 2009. He is author of ‘The Battle for Pakistan: The Bitter US Friendship

and a Tough Neighbourhood’ and ‘Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within’. He tweets @shujanawaz and his website can be found at: http://www.shujanawaz

The Chinese Horn is threatening nuclear war: Daniel 7

China threatens nuclear war, expanding arsenal in case of ‘intense showdown’ with US

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, wrote that “the number of China’s nuclear warheads must reach the quantity that makes US elites shiver.”Gilles Sabrie/Bloomberg via Getty Images

​The media mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist government touted the country’s “urgent” goal to expand its arsenal of long-range nuclear missiles in anticipation of an “intense showdown” with the US.

“As the US strategic containment of China has increasingly intensified, I would like to remind again that we have plenty of urgent tasks, but among the most important ones is to rapidly increase the number of commissioned nuclear warheads, and the DF-41s, the strategic missiles that are capable to strike long-range and have high-survivability, in the Chinese arsenal,” wrote Hu Xijian, the editor of the Global Times.

“The number of China’s nuclear warheads must reach the quantity that makes US elites shiver should they entertain the idea of engaging in a military confrontation with China,” he said in the opinion piece.

On this basis, we can calmly and actively manage divergences with Washington to avoid a minor incident sparking a war. US hostility toward China is burning. We must use our strength, and consequences that Washington cannot afford to bear if it takes risky moves, to keep them sober,” Hu wrote, adding that Beijing must be ready for the “intense showdown.”​​

The threat from the editor of the Global Times comes as President Biden ordered the US intelligence community to take another look at whether the coronavirus leaked from a Chinese lab.

The agencies have a 90-day deadline to come back with a report on their findings.

Biden, while making the announcement, blamed China’s lack of transparency for hindering earlier investigations into the origins of the coronavirus — a pandemic that has killed ​3.5 million around the world and caused massive economic pain.

“Back in early 2020, when COVID-19 emerged, I called for the CDC to get access to China to learn about the virus so we could fight it more effectively. The failure to get our inspectors on the ground in those early months will always hamper any investigation into the origin of COVID-19,” he said.

The Russian nuclear triad: Daniel 7

Russia’s most advanced cruise missile nuclear sub arrives at Zapadnaya Litsa

The “Kazan” cruise missile submarine docked for the first time in Zapadnaya Litsa after sailing north from her construction yard in Severodvinsk, the press service of the Northern Fleet informed on June 1.

The nuclear-powered submarine took 12 years to build and is the first in a serie of the Yasen-M class vessels, an improved version of the first prototype, the “Severodvinsk” that came to the Northern Fleet in 2013. Seven similar submarines are currently under construction, with the last expected to be commissioned in 2027.

Zapadnaya Litsa is the westernmost of the Northern Fleet’s submarine bases on the Kola Peninsula, famous during the Cold War famous for both being homeport to the six giant Typhoon submarines but also most of the prototype nuclear-powered subs in the Soviet navy, like the “Komsomolets” (K-278).

Piers in Nerpitcha were specially constructed to serve the Typhoons. Located only 60 km from the border to Norway, Zapadnaya Litsa got special attention in 2019 when the “Severodvinsk” fired a Kalibr cruise missile without leaving the pier.

It was said to be the first time a nuclear-powered submarine launched a cruise missile directly from the base, a move drastically shortening the time it takes to make a submarine ready for combat.

Additional to the ship- and land attack Kalibr missile, the “Kazan” submarine can carry Oniks anti-ship missiles and Kh-101 cruise missiles.

The two next Yasen-M subs to be commissioned (“Novosibirsk” and “Krasnoyarsk”) will likely be transferred to the Pacific Fleet, while the “Arkhangelsk”, “Ulyanovsk” and “Voronezh” is expected to be commissioned from 2022 to 2027, making it a total of five submarines of the Yasen and Yasen-M classes based in Zapadnaya Litsa.

A hard-line stance on Iran endangers Christians. There’s a better way.

(Open Doors) — Western countries can insist that Iran drop charges against Christian converts facing prosecution.

An Iranian woman holds a portrait of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a rally marking the 42nd anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Feb. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

June 1, 2021By 

(Open Doors) — The quickest way to know if Iran is serious about either nuclear compliance or religious freedom is to tie the two issues together.  

During the 2016 campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump promised to take a hard-line stance on Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions. This was a response to the Obama administration’s loosening of sanctions, seemingly rewarding Iran with a massive cash payment and a path to rejoining the world’s financial system in hope the rogue nation would respond with nuclear compliance.

Just days after his inauguration, President Trump’s top officials came out swinging, “officially putting Iran on notice” and launching a campaign of “maximum pressure” that included the reimposition of financial sanctions against the theocratic regime. Within the Iranian government, emboldened fundamentalist factions waged a war of persecution against Christians throughout the country.

Rather than focus on inflicting maximum pain or looking the other way, a successful renegotiation of the Iran nuclear deal should target the heart of the regime’s nuclear ambitions: religious extremism.

As one of the world’s few remaining theocracies, Iran has nuclear ambitions that are not simply a matter of national pride or homeland security. The regime wants to safeguard its religious authority to promote a radical definition of the Muslim faith on the world stage.

The government makes sure that Islam is preeminent at home. Raids of home churches are common, forcing many people of faith to flee the country or face prosecution. Muslims who convert to Christianity are especially at risk of arrest and long-term imprisonment for “crimes against national security.” Government officials use smartphone location data and digital footprints to find those who defy fundamentalist Islamic practices.

Iran, red, on a world map. Map courtesy of Creative Commons

Iran’s foreign policy is also driven by religious concerns. Many have decried Iran’s bankrolling of Hamas for its role in exacerbating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but few have acknowledged the faith-based agenda of an Iran-Hamas alliance.

Perhaps the most concerning threat is the direct link between radical Islamic extremism and the meteoric rise in violent attacks throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Religiously motivated terrorist groups are organizing throughout the region, and Iran’s status as a well-funded expression of an extremist state could be a key asset to the small but loyal factions spreading throughout the continent. A new caliphate is on the rise, and the world cannot afford to equip it with nuclear weapons. 

The American approach to Iran has been experimental at best for the past two decades. President George W. Bush used Iraq to counter Iran’s influence in the Middle East, with mixed results. President Barack Obama’s 2015 deal, focused on nuclear site monitoring and international accountability, has received mixed reviews from foreign policy experts. In 2018, Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement, reinstating strict economic sanctions and forcing government officials into retaliation.

The radical Islamic regime has outlasted all these measures, even as the will of its population has become the biggest threat to its power. Some Iranians are calling for an end to the Islamic republic in the upcoming election, citing widespread rejection of theocratic ideals. As the Khamenei regime’s authority grows more fragile, religious diversity is increasing. The Roman Catholic Church has managed to slowly expand its presence, even recently installing an archbishop of Tehran with a commission to “offer the light of the Gospel.” 

All of this amounts to a diplomatic opportunity. If the regime expects to preserve its power in upcoming elections, it must prove its ability to provide both economic opportunity and religious freedom protections.

Fortunately, Iran can accomplish both in one deal. Western countries have the bargaining power to insist that Iran drop charges against more than two dozen Christian converts currently facing prosecution in the country. The White House can protect religious minorities by targeting Iranian officials who abuse them with asset freezes and visa sanctions while pressuring the government to lift religious freedom restrictions. In doing so the regime will curry favor with its electorate and preserve its sovereignty.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration can reopen admissions for Iranian religious refugees via the Lautenberg Program, which allows religious minorities in oppressive countries to relocate to the United States. Though the administration’s recent lifting of a historically low admissions ceiling is a promising first step, this additional measure can help provide safe harbor to those fleeing Iran on the basis of faith.

Now is the opportunity to bring greater freedom to the people of Iran, and to help them reenter the international community of nations. 

Iran can quickly prove it’s serious about diplomatic accountability by complying with international standards of human rights — including but not limited to the free practice of faith. President Joe Biden has the rare opportunity to learn from the promises and pitfalls of his predecessors’ approach on Iran. The path forward runs through religious freedom.

Iranian Nuclear Horn ducking questions about uranium: Daniel 8

Iran ducking questions about uranium at undeclared sites, UN watchdog says

IAEA head ‘concerned’ that Tehran refusing to allow clarify presence of uranium at three sites; separate report says uranium stockpile at 16 times allowed limit

By AFP and TOI staff1 Jun 2021, 4:01 am

The UN nuclear watchdog Monday voiced concern that Iran had not clarified queries over possible undeclared nuclear activity after trace amounts of uranium were detected at three sites.

The IAEA said in the report that the results of its inspection work have established “a clear indication that nuclear material and/or equipment contaminated by nuclear material has been present” at three undeclared locations, with most of the activity in question dating back to the early 2000s.

The agency also said Iran has failed to answer questions regarding a fourth site where natural uranium may have been present between 2002 and 2003 in the form of a metal disc.

The report said IAEA director general Rafael Grossi was “concerned that the technical discussions between the agency and Iran have not yielded the expected results,” referring to exchanges on the sites where undeclared nuclear activity may have occurred.

“The lack of progress in clarifying the Agency’s questions concerning the correctness and completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations seriously affects the ability of the Agency to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program,” the report read.

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The conclusion comes despite a “proactive and focused effort” launched by the IAEA in April “to break the impasse” over the sites.

In February, the atomic watchdog said it was “deeply concerned” by the possible presence of nuclear material at an undeclared site that had been flagged by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “secret atomic warehouse.”

“The agency is deeply concerned that undeclared nuclear material may have been present at this undeclared location and that such nuclear material remains unreported by Iran under its safeguards agreement,” a report at the time said.

The site in question is in the Turquzabad district of Tehran, previously identified by Israel as an alleged site of secret atomic activity.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency visited the site several times after Netanyahu identified it in a 2018 address to the UN General Assembly, took soil samples, and later definitively concluded that there were “traces of radioactive material” there, Israel’s Channel 13 news reported in 2019.

Sources told AFP in February that there is no indication the site has been used for processing uranium, but that it could have been used for storing it as late as the end of 2018.

In a separate report, the IAEA said Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium is around 16 times the limit laid down in the 2015 deal with world powers.

However, the rate of production of enriched uranium has slowed since the last quarterly report from the IAEA in February, possibly as a result of sabotage which Iran has blamed on Israel.

In April, Iran said a “small explosion” had hit its Natanz nuclear facility.

The reports came as the IAEA has sought to negotiate with Iran to resume some inspections cut off in February.

Last week the IAEA said it had extended a temporary agreement with Iran until June 24 which has allowed many inspections to continue.

The latest reports will be presented to the IAEA’s board of governors next week.

Iran and world powers are engaged in talks in Vienna to rescue the 2015 nuclear deal after former US president Donald Trump walked away from it in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions on Tehran.

Trump’s successor Joe Biden has signaled his willingness to revive the plan.

For this to happen, the US would need to return to the accord and lift the sanctions reinstated by Trump while Tehran would have to re-commit to full compliance with nuclear obligations it progressively withdrew from since 2019.

Shattered rooms show toll on children outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

AP PHOTOS: Shattered rooms show Gaza war’s toll on children

JOHN MINCHILLO , Associated Press

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The latest Gaza war is over, but its wreckage still litters the purple bedroom of 9-year-old Shrouq al-Masri and her 4-year-old sister, Razan.

Their toys are coated with gray dust, the ceiling is bent and buckled, and the cracks in the walls slice through the cartoons that decorated them.

The two girls survived the early morning airstrike that destroyed a nearby building on May 19, two days before a cease-fire ended the war. But like so many children in Gaza, they will carry the memory of its horrors and devastation.

The 11-day war was the fourth fought between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that has ruled Gaza since 2007. It featured the same waves of predawn Israeli airstrikes, the same continuous rocket fire out of the impoverished territory, and the same lopsided casualty toll, with Palestinians making up the vast majority of the more than 250 killed.

And like the others, it took a heavy toll on children. At least 66 Palestinian children were killed, as well as a 5-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl on the Israeli side. Countless more were awakened in the night by explosions.

In the Maghazi refugee camp in southern Gaza, an airstrike tore the roof off the bedroom that 4-year-old Anas Alhajahmed shared with his sister and left the floor covered in shattered glass. They survived as well.

It was the first war in his short life, but most Gazans vividly recall the others — including the most devastating, in 2014, which lasted several weeks. Even adolescents can point out homes destroyed in previous rounds of fighting.

Israel blames the destruction on Hamas, which fires imprecise rockets from civilian areas in Gaza in the general direction of civilian areas in Israel. The military says it makes every effort to avoid civilian casualties. Hamas says it is fighting a decades-old military occupation, using the only weapons it has against a far superior military power. It says 80 militants were among those killed.

Both sides say they have no choice, and no one expects this war to be the last. Meanwhile, the intractable conflict takes its toll on those with the least capacity to understand its cruel logic.

Mahmoud Al-Masri, 14, shared his room with six brothers. At 3 a.m., his family scrambled out of the building after the Israeli military warned them to evacuate. He didn’t think he would make it. The next morning, he was hesitant to return.

“I was afraid that after we returned we would be killed by a drone in another attack,” he said.

The survivors have even more hardship ahead as they struggle to rebuild. Israel and Egypt have imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. Unemployment hovers around 50%.

Israel says the closure is needed to keep Hamas from re-arming, while the Palestinians and rights groups view it as a form of collective punishment.

Either way, it will be a long time before the children whose bedrooms were shattered return to somewhere that feels like home.